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BizReport : Internet : September 12, 2006


Adware and Spyware Distributors Target Celebrity Sites

McAfee Avert Labs are charging that adware and spyware distributors are abusing the affiliate marketing programmes of legitimate companies.

by William White

In a recent paper the organisation accuses the distributors of harnessing star/celebrity power to distribute adware and spyware. “In addition,” it says, “adware distributors use front companies and websites to reach unsuspecting users and intermediaries which mean that legitimate sites are finding themselves tied to known spyware distributors.”

According to the McAfee Avert Labs paper, programs often install themselves on a user’s machine as a trade-off for a piece of free software. They are then used to collect marketing data and distribute targeted advertising.

Adult and pornographic websites are commonly believed to be the prolific distributors of adware, but according to the McAfee Site Advisor found that star/celebrity websites are the more dominant sites.

Reporting the results of a survey which concluded that 97 percent of Internet users could not tell safe from unsafe sites, the McAfee Advisor says the findings mean that the majority of users are just one click away from downloading unwanted programs.

The paper also draws attention to the confusion merchants and consumers face surrounding spyware and adware. At the same time it refers to what it describes as blurred boundaries between malicious, unwanted programmes and friendly software.

Tags: adware, McAfee, spyware










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